3 resume tips that help make a great first impression

June 11, 2015, 3:15 PM UTC
Courtesy of KPMG

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What are three things you look for in a resume? is written by Debbie Messemer, managing partner at KPMG San Francisco.

Resumes create the first impression for job applicants. In every resume I always look for the following: a clear objective, evidence of leadership attributes or leadership potential, and an interest or passion for activities outside the workplace or classroom. Before I elaborate on these qualities, it’s important to address the basics. A sharp, crisp resume will describe the applicant’s technical skills, show experience relevant to the position, and include proper grammar and punctuation–and especially no typos.

Beyond the basics, I first look for the applicant’s objective or mission statement. The resume should contain a clear statement that indicates they understand the industry, the company’s business, its core values, and the specific role they are seeking A broadly stated objective that can apply to multiple industries may be indicative of a lack of interest or an unwillingness to invest time in the interview process.

The second thing I look for in a resume is a sign of leadership or leadership potential. The level of leadership experience will vary among applicants, though anyone can exhibit leadership qualities regardless of title. Applicants should ask themselves whether their resume highlights a particular activity, event, or action that is an example of a willingness to step up, inspire, and lead others.

Finally, I look for information that shows the applicant is a well-rounded individual that has a strong work ethic, a commitment to the community, and personal passions. What did the new college graduate do beyond the classroom? Activities like working a job while attending college, volunteering, personal hobbies, and community service can all provide valuable insight into a candidate.

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